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Parks & Recreation

Colorado Springs Parks & Recreation

This parks & recreation list of local Colorado Springs scenic nature areas is by no means complete. It includes locations large and small we’ve visited and like, plus a few recommendations from people on Google Maps. Pikes Peak and Garden Of The Gods park are featured in the photo above.

We’ll visit more locations and fill in their descriptions, but meanwhile please write to us with your own thoughts on your favorite COS outdoor destinations.

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Local Parks & Recreation

Our parks & recreation list is ordered by postal zip code north to south for driving convenience, and that wasn’t as easy to do as it sounds.

Ute Valley Park
1705 Vindicator Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Ute Valley Park is a large neighborhood park with a small easy-to-miss parking lot. The lot offers 21 spaces, plus one handicapped space and a portable toilet. Outside of the occasional bench and a few feet of boardwalk across a marsh, this park is unimproved, however being au naturel shows off its beauty. The park includes a large beautiful ravine and valley with bluffs crowning the far ridge.

There are several miles of trails and washes, and you can enjoy hiking and biking up and down the ravine, around the valley and across knolls. Take Yucca Path from the parking lot, past the marsh, to the top of a knoll for a full 360° panoramic view. Just be sure to bring drinking water and other provisions you might need.

Palmer Park
3650 Maizeland Rd
Colorado Springs, CO 80909

Palmer Park is a mostly but-not-all flat nicely improved neighborhood park with ample parking. It includes open green grass areas and a grassy knoll. Facilities include a sand lot volleyball court, two bathrooms, and drinking fountains. There is a covered picnic area, a well-appointed children’s playground, and two adult baseball diamonds. The perimeter is a wildlife preserve.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space
3550 W High St
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Sandstone park with hiking and bike trails

Garden of The Gods Visitors & Nature Center and Park
1805 N 30th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

The address is for the Visitors and Nature Center overlooking the park. It’s a good place to start and can be quite busy at times with large groups moving through. Garden of the Gods Park is 480 acres of spectacular rock formations, trails, rock climbing and horseback riding, and you can drive through it as well.

There is an interesting history to this grand park. It’s too involved to repeat here, but it is worth looking up online. Fresh food with indoor and outdoor dining, restrooms, educational attractions and a gift shop are all available at the modern Visitors and Nature Center. Parking and the park itself are both free.

Monument Valley Park
170 W Cache La Poudre St
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Monument Valley Park is part of a very large north/south running greenbelt, while Monument Creek runs along with it. It’s a popular beautiful park, but parking can be a real challenge.

One of the main features of this park is the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail. This trail runs throughout Colorado Springs and provides direct access to a number of parks including Monument Valley Park, Boddington Park and the Gossage Youth Sports Complex.

The Pikes Peak Greenway Trail surface includes asphalt, concrete, crushed stone and dirt, however the linked website says all but the skinniest bike tires should be able to travel over the terrain without any trouble. Click the link for more information and public comments on the trail.

America The Beautiful Park
126 Cimino Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Urban green space with a modern fountain

Bear Creek Dog Park
S 21st St & W Rio Grande St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

This dog oriented facility is a fenced-in 10 acre site with separate areas for large and small dogs. Plus a nice agility course. Shameless plug: Woof and purr! We’re a pet friendly apartment community with affordable lease rates. Bear Creek Dog Park is a small part of Bear Creek Regional Park listed below.

Cottonwood Creek Park
1401 Recreation Way
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Year-round indoor/outdoor recreation.

Memorial Park
1605 E Pikes Peak Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80910

Lake, trails and arena for cycling races

Bear Creek Regional Park & Nature Center
245 Bear Creek Rd
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

The address is for the Nature Center, but you can’t miss the 575-acre park around it. Bear Creek Regional Park is one of the most frequently visited parks in Colorado Springs. The park includes a garden, a pavilion, and miles of trails. You’ll also find a playground, tennis courts and dog park (listed above). Plus an archery range, volleyball court and horseshoe pit.

Helen Hunt Falls
4075 N Cheyenne Cañon (Canyon) Rd
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

The falls are named for Helen Hunt Jackson, 1830–1885. She was an American poet and writer who became a strong advocate for improved treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. Government. This may not be the grandest park in our parks & recreation list, but it’s definitely beautiful and worth the drive.

The route drives through a populated canyon, while your destination is three miles out of town at 7,343 feet elevation. Then you drive up a winding road and arrive at a beautiful setting. In addition to the falls and short but steep trails, there is a quaint building with helpful staff who offer historical information and photos. Post cards and a bottled water vending machine are at the end of the list, so bring your own food.

Portable toilets are available in the parking lot. Don’t let the rustic facilities scare you off. Helen Hunt Falls is a picturesque serene spot to linger and enjoy. Parking is free.

Quail Lake Park
915 Cheyenne Mountain Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Quail Lake Park is a quiet neighborhood park with a nice-sized lake as the main feature in a location where the mountains make a beautiful backdrop. There are two fishing docks extending into the lake. The lake is stocked with trout, and a State fishing license is required. An adequate boat ramp is available for launching and retrieving non-motorized craft, like a canoe. And you’ll need a boat permit. Flotation devices for each occupant are required.

The lake evidently does freeze. A sign warns to, “Keep off ice at all times,” and that sounds like a good idea. There is a path around the lake for walking dogs which are to be kept on a leash.

No water, swimming or wading, and no alcoholic beverages. Camping is prohibited. Open fires are prohibited. It’s also a no-smoking park. A small parking lot seems to be adequate for the number of visitors, and there is a portable toilet near the parking lot. Parking is prohibited along the roadway at all times.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park
410 JL Ranch Heights Rd
Colorado Springs, CO 80926

Cheyenne Mountain State Park is by far the largest destination in our parks & recreation list. It features 20 miles of groomed trails on 2,701 acres west of Ft Collins. This huge park features biking and hiking trails. Picnicking. Year-round RV and tent camping, and more. A note on that: Tent camping mid winter just might be a bit cold.

It’s worth pointing out that this is a State Park, and that means it’s not free, while everything else on our parks & recreation list is free. Posted rules say if you spend “fifteen minutes or less” [that’s what it says] in the visitors center parking lot or on the trails, you’re required to buy a $7.00 vehicle day-use pass. It’s $70.00 for an annual pass.

For being such a large park, the visitors center is small with frankly not a lot to offer. So if you know what you want to do, and you know where you want to go, pass on the visitors center, pay the fee at the gate or show your annual pass, and ask about any mountain lion sightings. The person at the guard house should be able to answer all your questions, and you’ll be on your way.